Europe 2022: Ibiza
Ibiza was worthy of the hype! I kicked off an international trip with my friends from Penn State as well as a few people I met for the first time, by flying solo from JFK to Ibiza via Madrid. It was one of the first times I slept on a redeye, so I was thrilled to arrive in Ibiza rested and ready to go. Our friend group flew in over the course of two days, so three of us met at the airport and went directly to our AirBnB, which was amazing (minus the air conditioning not working that great and ants literally everywhere)! It had a fantastic pool, en suite bathrooms for some of the rooms and was walking distance to the beach and clubs!
Since it was only three of us the first day, we decided to have a pool party most of the afternoon and just relax! We, of course, had a Penn State flag which we prominently displayed it above the pool which made us feel right at home.
For dinner, we tried to walk about 30 minutes to Ibiza Town which was not where we were going to visit during the trip, but wound up stopping along the way for dinner and the day of travel and the sun in the pool caught up to us. We decided to head back to the AirBnB for the night and get a good night’s sleep ahead of everyone else arriving the following day. We had trouble cooling some of the rooms, including my bedroom the first night, so I wound up sleeping outside by the pool which was quite relaxing and surprisingly comfortable.
The following day, the rest of our group arrived and we spent the daytime relaxing in the pool before going out to dinner on the way to our first club. Our “dinner” actually consisted of a hot dog as we wanted to get to the club in time to get a good location to watch the first concert, featuring David Guetta, at Ushuaia which is located at a beach club / hotel.
We got an amazing location next to a fence where I was able to stand and lean against, something critical since we would be there for about 4 hours!
The warm up acts were pretty good, I’m not an EDM fan, but have a new appreciation for it after this trip! David Guetta came on at about 10 PM and performed until midnight. I listened to his playlist on Spotify before going to Ibiza, so I knew about half the songs and was impressed by some of his new material he was testing out on the crowd. He seemed to be quite surprised in a good way by our reaction to his new take on the “I’m Blue de be du ba de ba” song! The strobe light show was quite impressive throughout the event as well.
After the concert ended, we decided to go grab dinner at a pizza place which was actually better than I thought. Everything we read prior to arriving in Ibiza was that it is not a foodie paradise, so our expectations were tempered quite well.
We then headed to what is considered the #1 club in the world, Hi Ibiza, which was a fantastic experience! There were multiple rooms which featured DJs with a range of genres, but the main room was more like a traditional club. It was huge!
Once the group I was with settled in the middle of the club floor, I seeked somewhere that I felt more comfortable. Club atmospheres are always something I am weary of as I am unable to control variables like the crowd size or density. Given my balance isnr the best I decided to head towards the side of the stage to an emptier area where I could lean against a rail. Somehow, I found myself at the front of the stage along a rail where a large subwoofer was blocking my vision. Over the next hour, however, I kept creeping towards the middle as people left to go get drinks or go to the bathroom. Before the main act started I was able to see the full stage from the front row and lean against the rail. It was literally the best possible scenario for me.
Alok was the headliner for the night, but I was more excited for the special guest – Bastille! I had met the band outside of a club in London more than a decade ago when they were out celebrating their first record contract and have been a huge fan ever since. I did not realize that Alok has collaborated with Bastille on a few tracks, so the lead singer decided to drop by and make a special appearance. He did not sound that great, but it was still amazing to hear some of my favorite songs performed live with the singer less than 6 feet from me (no social distancing!).
After he wrapped up, we stayed in the club for another hour or so before heading back to our Air BnB at around 5:00 AM. That was a fantastic first full day (and night) in Ibiza, the island that never sleeps!
We slept in the following morning and woke up around midday. Our group of eight decided to walk to Ibiza Town, which was where we tried to go to on our first night before we decided to have dinner and go back. I’m happy to say that we made it to the town, and stopped for delicious tapas which were reasonably priced. For essentially $10 each, four of us were able to get 5 tapas and 2 liters of sangria. It hit the spot and powered us through the rest of the day.
We walked around the town for a few minutes and then grabbed taxis across the island to Saint Antone Beach. The first place we got out was a bit rocky, so we walked about 10 minutes to a different beach where we wanted to watch the sun set over the Mediterranean Sea. We were a bit early, so we decided to go a hotel bar and grab a few drinks while we waited for the sun to go down a bit more. About a half hour before sunset, we headed to the beach. Most of the group went in the water, but I decided not to as I am not a huge fan of the sand as it sometimes gets stuck in my orthotics. I enjoyed the sunset while sitting on a towel and it was so beautiful!
After sunset, we headed to dinner. Our first choice was booked solid, but we found an amazing burger restaurant which hit the spot. After dinner, we went back to our Air BnB to shower and change before going to the #3 club in the world, Amnesia!
I bought tickets to the “VIP Balcony” for $20 more as it is supposed to be less crowded. It was somewhat crowded, but, again, I was able to post up along a rail and enjoy the DJs. We intentionally arrived at about 2AM as Steve Aoki, the headliner, was not due on until 3:30 AM. The DJ before was absolutely fantastic, Timmy Trumpet. He had a whole show which involved various things from him playing the trumpet to climbing on the top of the subwoofers to drinking vodka out of the bottle!
Steve Aoki then came on and, to be honest, I liked Timmy Trumpet more. I knew a few of his songs, but wasn’t as entertained. That being said, it was still something I am happy I did. He played Zombie Nation, which has a special meaning to Penn Staters like myself, and ended his set with “Pursuit of Happiness” which is one of my favorite songs. I also got to watch him “cake” people in the face – something he does at all his performances. He literally had a dozen sheet cakes and threw them in the face of random people in the crowd. It was bizzare, but entertaining!
When I descended from the balcony, the floor of the club was so slippery that I left with the first group of people from our Air BnB and made it back to our place by 5:30 AM.
The following day was a rest and recovery day. I booked our group a private boat cruise for 8 hours with Boats4Ibiza. Our captain was amazing and took us to different spots where we could swim and snorkel. The first stop had a pretty bad riptide, so we got back in the boat after about 30 minutes and headed to lunch. The company arranged for us to have lunch on an island named Formakura, which is on most “must do” lists for Ibiza. We were ferries in a dingy from our boat to the beach where we walked about 5 minutes to a picturesque restaurant. We ate among sand dunes before heading back to the dingy to take us to the boat.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at a swimming spot with cliff diving. The water and atmosphere were so perfect that we wanted to stay there instead of going to our third and final stop. I spent about an hour or so in the water before going back on the boat to relax for the rest of the afternoon. Some of our group tried paddle boarding and others cliff jumped from pretty high up!
All good things must come to an end, though, so we headed back towards Ibiza with a few quick stops to see caves. While we didn’t physically watch the sunset, we caught part of it on the boat ride back. It was a perfect end to the first leg of our trip.
For the rest of the evening, we went back to the Air BnB to pack, swim in the pool, and eat the leftover groceries for an eclectic dinner. We all had early flights out the following morning, so I was happy to stay in and relax.
The following morning, the group dispersed. Half of them went back to the States, but, for four of us, Ibiza was only the first stop of our 5 city, 3 country tour over the course of two weeks!